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This tailor-made itinerary along the famed California coastline includes a huge variety of activities that showcase the state’s many sides – from an eco-raft ocean safari in Monterey and a private helicopter ride over LA, to a VIP guided itinerary of Universal Studios Hollywood. With your own hire car, self-driving between your stops enables you to take in the breathtaking sights and savour it all at your own pace, before unwinding together at our handpicked luxury hotels with plenty of activities
Enjoy a behind-the-scenes VIP itinerary of Universal Studios Hollywood, the world’s largest working movie studio
Explore Santa Monica on a beach adventure itinerary with a guide, where highlights include stand up paddle-boarding and biking along the famous Venice beach boardwalk
Soar over iconic Los Angeles landmarks on a helicopter itinerary, viewing celebrity mansions
Kayak along the Santa Barbara waterfront, keeping an eye out for migrating whales and pods of dolphins
Explore San Francisco on a cycling itinerary with a knowledgeable private guide. Beginning at the picturesque Aquatic Park in Fisherman’s Wharf, the mostly flat National Park Bike Path will take you through Fort Mason, the Marina, Presidio National Park, and onto the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Continue to the bayside town of Sausalito to enjoy the shops, art galleries and delicious food of the area, before ferrying back to San Francisco.
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From Fairmont San Francisco, join an expert local guide to explore the many distinct neighbourhoods and sights of the city. In the evening as the sun sets, sail to Alcatraz Island for a tour of the infamous prison, learning all about its turbulent history and notorious inhabitants. The following day, take in a guided cycling tour past the Golden Gate Bridge along the waterfront to charming Sausalito, an area renowned for its artisans and artwork.
Collect your rental vehicle and drive along the Pacific Coast to Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel.
Just a 30-minute drive north of Carmel Valley Ranch, head over to Moss Landing in Monterey County for a private eco-raft ocean safari hosted by an experienced captain, to spot magnificent whales, dolphins and sea otters. In the afternoon, get set for a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Home to more than 35,000 species of plants and animals, your guide will explain how to care for a jellyfish, create a home for a shark and learn the secrets to growing a live kelp forest.
Drive along Highway 1 to Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Pismo Beach.
Stay for a night in Pismo Beach, beginning the morning with a surfing lesson.
Continue to drive along Highway 1 to Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito, Santa Barbara.
Having arrived in Santa Barbara, spend the afternoon relaxing or horse-riding along the pristine coastline. The following day, board a ferry to Santa Cruz Island for a guided kayak tour along the marine-rich coast, surrounded by beautiful kelp forests and rugged cliffs.
Drive to Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.
Begin your time in Los Angeles by learning about its fascinating prehistoric past with a private guided tour of the La Brea Tar Pits Museum. The next day, go behind-the-scenes of Universal Studios Hollywood on a small-group VIP tour and watch as your favourite cinematic scenes come to life when you encounter everything from the Wisteria Lane from ABC’s hit series Desperate Housewives, to Norman Bates at the legendary Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Hollywood and Beverly Hills await the following day, where your driver will show you all the sights such as the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive. Then, take a helicopter tour over the iconic landmarks including the Hollywood Sign, before landing on an exclusive secluded plateau, where you will enjoy a Champagne toast. Your final day in Los Angeles will be spent around Santa Monica’s beautiful beaches.
Drive to The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach.
Spend the next three nights at your leisure at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, perched upon a 150-foot-high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and nestled between Los Angeles and San Diego, the hotel mixes old-world charm with modern elegance. Guest rooms and suites are decorated in muted, seaside-inspired colours flushed with plush fabrics and subtle modern details. Spend your days lounging on the lawn, while evenings lend themselves to orange-coloured sunsets and exotic cocktails from the bar.
Drive to Los Angeles International Airport and return your rental vehicle. From here, fly to the UK.
Take in the many neighbourhoods and boundless iconic sights of San Francisco with an expert guide. Make your way across the city, experiencing everything from a walk across the legendary Golden Gate Bridge and North America’s oldest Chinatown, before strolling along bustling Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf, where you’ll also catch a view of the infamous Alcatraz Island.
Arrive at the bike shop this morning where your guide will be waiting to greet you and match you to your bike. Your knowledgeable guide will then lead you along the San Francisco waterfront past Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, the Marina and the Presidio, through Crissy Field and to Fort Point. Get ready to pedal through the clouds across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, an experience you won't soon forget! Now that you are in Sausalito, be sure to take some fantastic photos at Vista Point. Next, you will make your way to the historic Old Fort Baker, as your guide lets you in on the area's role in US history. Your tour will come to an end in Sausalito, where you will be able to enjoy the shops, art galleries and the delicious food before riding back to San Francisco. A boxed picnic lunch can be arranged on request to be enjoyed at the ferry landing park in Sausalito.
From Moss Landing, set off at speed across the waters of the bay on an exciting eco-raft safari. Your experienced captain will guide you close to local wildlife, including orcas and blue whales, while dolphins and sea otters make regular appearances, too! You will also have chance to explore Point Lobos or Elkhorn Slough, one of California's spectacular wetlands, where otters, seals and sea lions happily reside.
Built in 1984, Monterey Bay Aquarium features more than 35,000 species of plants and animals. Your local guide will lead you on a behind-the-scenes tour, explaining the most popular exhibits, before sharing exclusive aquarium insights, from how to care for a jellyfish to creating a home for a shark!
Board the ferry across to the Channel Islands, where you’ll meet your expert guide to begin your kayaking experience. Once on the water, paddle along three glorious miles along the coast, surrounded by beautiful kelp forests and rugged cliffs. Learn about the marine ecology and history of the islands, before leaving your kayak behind for a short hike and a picnic lunch.
Once a vivacious location for animals of all shapes and sizes, the fascinating, yet deadly La Brea Tar Pits trapped now-extinct exotic animals such as saber-toothed cats, dire wolves and ground sloths, and preserved their fossilized remains for thousands of years. Your guided prehistoric tour will take you to Hancock Park, where your walk will lead you to see multiple tar pits, including Pit 91, which the museum is currently excavating. You will also have the opportunity to view the original excavation pit, where it all began!
Soar above the icons of the city and relish the panoramic view from the comfort of a helicopter. Sights include Universal Studios, the Hollywood Sign, celebrity homes of Beverly Hills and Bel Air. You’ll also head west to see the world-famous beaches and pier of Santa Monica. Land on an exclusive, secluded plateau overlooking the magnificent shores of Malibu beach, where you’ll have chance for a Champagne toast with unforgettable views.
Meet your private outdoor adventure guide and begin your day by learning to stand up paddleboard! Glide past yachts and sea lions, as you explore the nearby marine life under the warm California sun. Following your time on the water, take a two-hour bike ride along the world-famous Venice beach boardwalk, where you’ll see fascinating performances by mystics and talented performers, from mimes and musicians, to jugglers and jesters.
Start your day in the exclusive VIP lounge, before setting off for the complete Universal Studios Hollywood experience with a personal guide, who will escort you through the world’s largest working movie studio, exploring cinematic scenes which are closed off to the general public. A gourmet lunch will be prepared by Universal's executive chef, before you enjoy the park’s rides and attractions with the ability to skip lines and secure the best seats!
California basks in glorious summer sunshine, but the USA is a true year-round destination.
16 NIGHTS FROM £18,070 per person
Price based upon economy flights from London, transfers, UK airport lounge passes and meals and excursions as specified.
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